Spotlight on the EPA & Rodenticides
The California Department of Pesticide Regulation has proposed to designate second-generation anticoagulant rodenticides (SGARs) as California-restricted materials to address the problem of wildlife exposure and poisoning from products containing SGARs. However, these rodenticides are poisoning kids, pets and wildlife not only in California but across the entire country. What, then, is the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) doing to address the problems inherent to SGARs on a national level?
EPA Rodenticide Efforts in Review
EPA has been evaluating SGARs for over a decade. In 2008, following a comparative review of all rodenticide products on the market, the agency developed a series of measures intended to reduce the impact of second generation rodenticides. Its 2008 Risk Mitigation Decision included:
- Requiring rodenticides sold on the consumer retail market to be packaged in tamper-proof bait stations
- Prohibiting the sales of loose bait products to retail consumers
- Imposing package size, use, and sale/distribution restrictions on products containing second-generation rodenticides (brodifacoum, bromadiolone, difenacoum, difethialone)
While most manufacturers modified their products to comply with EPA’s mitigation measures, Reckitt-Benckiser continued to make its popular “d-CON” brands available to consumers nationwide, without bait stations and in several formulations that include SGARs.
On February 5, 2013, EPA issued a notice of intent to cancel and remove from the consumer market 12 d-CON products that failed to meet EPA standards. In response, Reckitt Benckiser filed formal objections to EPA’s decision and requested a hearing before an EPA Administrative Law Judge.
What Do EPA’s Actions Mean?
The limitations imposed by EPA on the distribution and package size of SGAR products are designed to reduce the availability of SGARs to residential customers. While the use of bait stations for outdoor applications mitigates the risks to children and pets, it does not protect wildlife from secondary poisoning resulting from the ingestion of poisoned rodents. And because Reckitt Benckiser is fighting the cancellation, these d-CON products subject to EPA’s cancellation will remain on the market until the outcome of the EPA hearing is determined. EPA has yet to announce the timeline for completing this process. In the meantime, consumers can opt for safer rodent control strategies and avoid the use of rodenticides.